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Readers Respond: Garden Pesticides and Controls You Can Make Yourself

Responses: 30


We all want to garden safely, but no one wants to tolerate insects and diseases. Surely gardeners had effective pesticides before there were chemicals. Do you have a homemade garden remedy that's worked for you? Share it here.

Natural Predators Eliminate Pests

Before reaching for the pesticide bottle , wait a little to allow natural predators to eliminate the pest problems. Birds, Ladybirds etc.can't do their jobs with poisonous residues on the affected plants ,or get killed themselves.
—Guest Margret

Chase Away those Deer, Racoons, Bunnies

I mix garden lime with the hottest cayenne powder I can buy in bulk. Wet the plant, and then apply dust. I also used this around the perimeter of the garden. Deer stay away after one bite and I havent had a racoon in my corn for the last 10 years. Wear a mask and plastic gloves, reapply as needed. Very economical.
—Guest kasha

Perk Up Plants

To perk up tired stressed plants..mixe together part Epsom salt, apple juice and a teaspoon of your favorite fertilizer..spray or sprinkle at the plant base or garden. Watch your plants energize in a matter of minutes.
—Guest Shirleen Ferguson

Kill Bugs with Cleaners

I use any household cleaner and spray it on the bug. I shuts down the respiratory system immediately. Works fantastic on ants. I sprayed a blackwidow spider. It took several sprays but it did kill it.
—Guest angell

Bug Spray for the Garden

TO RID ALL BUGS IN THE GARDEN, I mix 3 green peppers, 2 Jalepeno peppers, 6 Tablespoons baby shampoo, in a blender filled with water. Blend and pour into spray bottle. It works!
—Guest Geneva

Chilli Pepper, Onion and Garlic Tea

I've found that boiling up a few chillis - dried or fresh, the outer skin of four or five onions and a couple of garlic bulbs, with three or more litres of water. Boil for about ten minutes, allow to cool, strain and put the liquid into spray bottles. Seems to work against green and black fly, not so well against white fly. I added a couple of lemons to the mixture last year, and had better success. This year I plan to add three lemons, roughly chopped to the liquid before boiling this year. I have also found prevention is easier if you spray before the bugs find the plants. Also helps keep aphids off roses and daisies.
—Guest Home made aphid tea

Salt on Weeds

Table salt works on weeds...I use after a rain or just watering yard. Sprinkle direct from salt container. Does not work extremely fast. I use down fence line and around sprinkler donuts.
—Guest dotsuperstar1

Deterring Ants

Ants eat all our peony blooms and killed an entire group of cannas. They ate the bulbs. I now use cinnamon to rid the gardens of ants - everywhere! I experimented by putting a line of cinnamon around a bowl of cat food. Ants would not cross it! I now use it anywhere I find ants - it works every time! [Note from Marie: I think something else probably ate your peony blooms. The ants are feeding on the nectar released by the buds, not the buds themselves. In fact, they also feed on other insects that will harm the plant.]

Calcium Pills for Tomatoes

I have always put egg shells under my tomato plants to help prevent blossom end rot, with success sometimes. A few years ago I had some calcium pills that I was taking for myself and decided to put one in with my tomato plants. That's all I use now because it really works!! I have not had any blossom end rot since. I buy a bottle for 2$ at Wal-mart and put 1 or 2 in during the growing season. Just push down beside your plants,they melt right away. I also use them for my pepper plants.
—Guest debbie

Rhubarb Bug Spray

Remember to wash your edible fruit before eating. Boil the leaves of Rhubarb and strain the pot to reserve the water...spray this on the plants and bugs stay away...it also cleans your pots. John
—Guest John Perrone

Dawn Dish Detergent

I have been using Dawn dish soap(about4 or 5 drops) in a spray bottle filled with water to deter pests.It works very well on tomato plants and peppers.
—Guest Carrie Taylor


I have stakes with torn white rags tied to them to help keep away the deer. Also putting a bar of Zest bath soap in an old nylon stocking and tying it to stakes helps. The best thing I have to keep the deer away though is my 70 pound German Shepherd Heidi.

Keeping Birds Off Your Harvest

There are several things you can do to deter birds from the veggie garden. I use aluminum foil strips attached to string that I then tie up into trees or on fences. Disposable pie pans work good too. The best solution is to buy or make a fake snake and lay it out in the garden. You have to move it around the garden every couple days in order to convince the birds that its really "alive". Works great.
—Guest motherofallherbgrowers

Mint, not just for fresh breath

I have found that a strong brew of mint leaves steeped in hot water..allow to cool, strain out leaves and spray on plants,,will deter most insects (chewing and sucking) from nauching on my plants.Must be reapplied often.

Deter Bugs with Worm Castings

I own and run a certified organic nursery .We compost using red compost worms, not only are the castings wonderful for conditioning the soil, but the liquefied castings mixed with water (1 Tablespoon to a gallon of water) work wonders when sprayed on plants to deter aphids, scale, white fly and mites . We do not pasteurize the juice. Doing so would kill the microbes that kill the white fly larvae. I will also soap the plants at my nursery 2 times a year with ivory dish soap and water.They love it.

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